As the hotel industry slowly climbs out of the cavernous vacancies left by the pandemic, “breakeven” has become the operator’s current goal, a means of hanging on until some sense of normalcy returns. Like most other businesses, hospitality has been hard hit with occupancy rates ranging anywhere from 48% to 50% from mid-July through October. While these rates typically decline into the new year, the second week of December saw rates drop to 37.8%, a tough decline given the present climate. According to Hotstats, just to breakeven, a hotel requires an average occupancy rate just over 37%. With the current state of the industry, hoteliers are looking to maximize hotel convenience store sales from every guest. One of the revenue streams that may need some revision in order to compete is the hotel convenience store.
Maximize Hotel Convenience Store Sales
With restaurants opening their doors only to close again as COVID-19 cases surge, hotel guests are looking for convenient grab and go snacks that will sustain them throughout the day. Guests are already comfortable with the level of hygiene that the hotel demands, as well as expects, and they – and you – will benefit from having them spend more of their time on the property and less visiting local retail locations.
Keep in mind that the current guest looks for more than soda and chips. Today’s conscientious consumer is searching out healthy, unusual, sustainable, and locally sourced products, and they’re willing to pay for it.
Half of all Millennials surveyed, those born between 1981 and 1996, reported they would pay more for food that offered added benefits.
Focusing on Current Snack Trends
The Kerry Health and Nutrition Institute (KHNI) reported on the 10 key trends in food, nutrition, and health for 2020. The major drivers for the food and beverage industry was sustainability and naturally functional. Functional foods refer to products that supply additional health benefits. Naturally functional means that the added benefits are derived from nature and do not come from processed additives.
Superfoods or food as medicine fall into this latter group and include foods rich in immune-boosting, anti-inflammatory antioxidants, and other healthy compounds. Common products in this category include berries, nuts, seeds, herbs, dark chocolate, dried fruit, and various teas and natural beverages.
Consumers are also turning to plant-based, whole grain, high protein, energy-producing snacks. Instead of chips and crackers, these guests are looking for nuts, dried fruit, and other wholesome snacks.
Additional trends include locally grown and authenticity. How does food become authentic? Usually, a story goes along with the product. This may be as simple as one of the ingredients with a rich history or how the founders came up with the recipe.
Supplying Guests with the Latest Food Trends
So, just how does a hotelier supply their guests with the latest food trends in a sometimes-small convenience store? Fortunately, packaged whole foods continue to expand providing operators some interesting options.
In addition to providing your guests with well-thought-out grab and go products, it’s important to consider how these items will be displayed. Prominent arrangements sharing the story behind a product, the producer’s sustainable practices, or the healthy, all-natural ingredients it contains are sure to catch your guest’s eye.
Here is a great example from Conagra showing how operators can display their grab and go items in their convenience store.
Consider the following companies that have created unique healthy natural foods with great stories behind the product.
- Sahale Snacks—After a hike on the challenging trails of Mount Rainier, founders of Sahale Snacks, Josh Schroeter and Edmond Sanctis, realized the basic trail mix blend they’d taken with them replenished their energy, but did little to satisfy their taste buds.Sahale Snacks was the answer—a nutritious and tasty snack. Today, the brand consists of 17 varieties of grab and go snack mixes. Glazed mixes include a blend of tangerine, vanilla, cashew, and macadamia, while a tasty trail mix might consist of berries, macaroons, and almonds.
- Angie’s Boomchickapop – What started in Angie and Dan Bastian’s Mankato, Minnesota garage as a way to teach their kids about healthy snack options, turned into Angie’s Boomchickapop, a healthy snack company centered around ready-to-eat and microwave popcorn. Products are whole grain, non-GMO, and gluten-free, and come in unique flavors such as Pumpkin Spice Drizzled Kettle Corn with nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger.
- IBC Root Beer – This tasty soda makes a perfect accompaniment to delicious grab and go snacks and is made with all-natural ingredients like real cane sugar.
- Motts Juices – Samuel R. Mott started growing and packaging apples in 1842. Today, the company purchases more apples from New York farms than any other business. Their unsweetened single-serving applesauce packages and 100% non-GMO, no sugar added juices appeal to the health-conscious consumer.
Soure1 Purchasing, the largest Group Purchasing Organization (GPO) for the hospitality industry, offers a “one-stop shop” for locally sourced products as well as 1,000-plus suppliers that provide more than 9,000 high-quality products. With more than $12 billion in purchasing power, Source1 Purchasing members obtain direct access to suppliers, contracts, products, and detailed analytics. We reduce costs and streamline the procurement process. Contact us to find out more about our suppliers and the many benefits associated with a no-fee membership.